UN Invites Interaction on Live Biodiversity Web TV Show

NEW YORK, New York, September 19, 2011 (eNS) – One in four mammals, one in eight birds and more than one in three amphibians are now at risk of extinction, according to the Red List of Threatened Species compiled by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

In a live interactive web TV program from New York on Tuesday, the extraordinary loss of this diverse range of creatures will be in the spotlight as two experts answer questions from the public about the UN Decade on Biodiversity.

Przewalski’s horse, listed as Critically endangered, in the wild at the Khustain Nuruu National Park, Mongolia (Photo by Paulo Philippidis)

The planet’s biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate, scientists from around the world report in a multitude of professional journals. In an effort to turn back the tide of extinctions, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 – 2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity, UNDB.

executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Ahmed Djoghlaf will take questions during the program.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is an agreement that promotes sustainable development. Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, it was conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21, also agreed at that summit, into reality.

The Convention “recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and microorganisms and their ecosystems,” the secretariat said in a statement. “It is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment…”

Ahmed Djoghlaf of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Photo courtesy CBD)
Monique Barbut of the Global environment Facility (Photo by Ryan Rayburn courtesy World Bank)

Monique Barbut is CEO and Chair of the Global environment Facility, GEF, the world’s leading financier of projects to protect the global environment. She will discuss the role of the GeF in encouraging species survival and she, too, will take questions.

On camera, Djoghlaf and Barbut will consider what actions can be taken now to avert even more serious loss of biodiversity.

They say the entire United Nations system is striving to make the UN Decade on Biodiversity a lasting success to preserve and protect species instead of watching them go extinct one after another – birds, primates, frogs, fish, butterflies,

Join the show live online at: http://www.studiotalk.tv/show/live-interactive-un-webcast-the-un-decade-on-biodiversity-20112020

Times: 12.00 eST / 16.00 GMT / 17.00 BST / 18.00 CeT on Tuesday, September 20th.

Click here to submit questions before the program.

This endangered Bengal tiger takes shelter in the mangroves of Bangladesh’s Sundarbans. (Photo by Wildlife Vets International)

Hundreds of Earth’s diverse speces are losing their battles for survival. “The main causes, including habitat and climate change, overexploitation and pollution, are constant or increasing in their intensity,” the Convention on Biological Diversity warned in a statement.

As a result ecosystems such as forests, coral reefs and rivers are declining in most parts of the world and many species are being pushed closer and closer to extinction.

The earliest and most severe impacts of biodiversity loss are felt by the poor, but ultimately all societies and communities will suffer, the agency said.

Faced with this reality, in May 2010 the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity urged that concerted and effective action was needed if humans are to avoid hitting irreversible global ecological tipping points.

Five months later the CBD adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 to inspire and drive change by every country.

India’s long billed vulture, Gyps indicus, is Critically endangered (Photo by Ravi Vaidyanathan)

Barbut will discuss how GeF funding can be made available for developing countries seeking to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan.

Another new resource for understanding the planet’s biodiversity and the challenges species face is “Species on the edge of Survival – The ultimate guide to nature in need,” a new anthology published August 30, 2011 by the IUCN.

The book, inspired by IUCN’s Species of the Day initiative, features a selection of 365 plants, animals and fungi listed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. each profile includes a photo, a description of the species, its conservation status, geographical range and the conservation action that is needed to protect it.

The statistic that one in four mammals, one in eight birds and more than one in three amphibians are at risk of extinction is well known to Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission.

“These startling statistics are an alarm call that should be heard by everyone,” says Stuart. “Species are key to our survival, the quality of our lives and our economic security. It’s important to know what threats they face and how we can protect them.”

“The IUCN Red List is crucial in defining future conservation action, as it shows where it is needed most and encourages the necessary changes in legislation to make it more effective,” says Jean-Christophe Vie, deputy director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme.

“But this book is also a celebration of the magical diversity and beauty of life,” he said. “It is amazing to see what splendid creatures share the planet with us.”

To view some of the species profiles from the book, visit the Species of the Day website. To buy the book, click here.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2011. All rights reserved.